If you have ever experienced getting the local greeting wrong, you are not alone. It can be a minefield.
- Greetings in China
Handshaking is a silent way of greeting which is more common in China, although it is a popularly used form of greeting in many countries worldwide. Many western countries accept hugs and kisses as a popular form of greeting, although a handshake is still the formal way of greeting people. In China, a handshake or a simple and kind salutation is common. It is common on most social occasions as an expression of courtesy and greeting when people meet or say goodbye to each other. Besides, handshaking is also a way to express congratulations, thanks and motivation to others.
It is becoming popular to shake hands upon meeting, but sometimes, a simple nod is how the Chinese will greet each other. When a handshake is given, it may be firm or weak, but don’t read into the firmness of the handshake as it’s not a sign of confidence like in the West but a simple formality. Avoid hugging during greetings and farewells.
The exact years of this ritual are unknown, but historians had pinpointed that it probably have begun during pre-historic time. At that time, people were hunters and warriors and their right hands were usually carrying weapons. When they meet a stranger, in order to symbolize that they have no hostile intent, they would put down their weapons/gadget on their right hand and then extend their hand and let the stranger touch their palm, in order to prove that they had no weapons. This practice later evolved into the common handshaking etiquette.
- Greetings in Europe
After verbal greetings, the handshake is by far the most common form of greeting among both males and females in Europe. This is especially true for the first meeting. In England, adults, across all levels of society, a handshake of greeting and on parting.Greeting in UK is a brisk couple of shakes, American is a long pump-action that can be disconcerting to Brits and Europeans.
If a culture embraces kissing as a form of greeting, one of the most difficult lessons is to learn how many and to whom! In the south of France, it’s three, in Burgundy, the Jura and Paris it’s two. In some regions just outside of Paris, the number is four!! That is exasperating as by the time you are done, you practically have bruises on your cheek.
This form of greeting originated in the European practice of cheek kissing as a greeting between family members or close friends. It has also been associated with the Eastern Orthodox Fraternal or Easter Kiss, which through its entrenchment in the rites of the Orthodox Church carried a substantial strength of expression and so found use in daily life.
- Greetings in India
You are going to impress your Indian partner or client if you greet them in their native language.To greet in India, Say Namaste while pressing both your palms together, fingers touching one another and pointing upward, and making a simple bow. The most common way of spelling out their personal names is to begin with the given name then the family name. However, in some areas, some men don’t have any family name. Make sure you can verify to them the right way of saying their complete name. Women usually make use of their husband’s family name once they get married.
The origin of Namaskar tradition still remains a mystery. Namaste is indicative of obedience on the part of one person towards the other being. It is a salutation that might have originated as a way to acknowledge the submission of one person to the other. It can be perceived as the declaration of obedience and submission.
- Greetings in Japan
If you travel to Japan, knowing how to bow and greet in Japan can be helpful. Bowing is an important custom in Japan. People commonly greet each other by bowing instead of handshaking, and people generally have a small conversation after or before they bow.
This custom is used constantly in Japan. You may even see people bowing while on the phone. Keep in mind that men and women bow differently—men usually keep their hands at their sides, while women put their hands together on their thighs with their fingers touching.
The meaning of a bow totally depends on the situation, depth, and length of time you hold your bow. Bowing in Japan shows respect for the person or thing you’re bowing to. Societal ranking in Japanese is really important. If you’re higher up in society from another person, you’ll notice that they talk more politely to you, bow more deeply, and even perhaps order the same food as you at a restaurant.
A conversation/greeting generally starts with “konnichiwa” or “hello.” In the evening, you would say, “konbanwa” meaning “Good evening,” and in the morning you would usually say, “ohayō gozaimasu,” meaning “good morning,”
- Greeting in Mongolia
In Mongolia when people greet each other during a ceremony or a festival, they will offer their snuff bottles in the upturned palm of their right hand with the lid partially opened. The person being greeted will take out a pinch of snuff using the small spoon attached to the lid. Then they place the pinch of tobacco on the back of their hand before “snuffing” it up their nose. Even if you don’t want to sniff any snuff that day, it’s respectful to hold the bottle close to your nose, to smell the fragrance before passing it back. Culture and tradition play a very important role in everyday Mongolian life. If you step on someone’s foot, you immediately have to shake their hand. When you receive a gift you accept it with both hands, sleeves rolled down. The two major factors that contribute to the snuff culture, here are Buddhism and Mongolia’s storied history with China.
This form of greetings originated in the late 16th century. European traders introduced tobacco to the Mongolians at that time. However, chopping it up into a fine powder, which came to be called snuff, was encouraged. It was thought that, in this reincarnation, tobacco had medicinal properties. To protect against the elements, the Mongolians stored and carried snuff in airtight bottles. By the end of the 17th century and through most of the 19th century, it had become customary to offer snuff as a form of greeting. It was not long before snuff bottles became more than just a container. Indeed, they became much sought after objects of beauty and art. It is easy to imagine how a finely decorated snuff bottle simultaneously generated conversation and status.